Sri Andal with Sri Krishna
Mura was a demon whose weapon was the string, symbolic of bondage. The sin of attachment (raaga) is said to be the string that keeps the individual soul confined to worldly misery. Lord Krishna killed Mura and released the devotees from bondage - granted moksha.
Krishna's devotees celebrated the event by calling him Murari. Follow His teachings to reach the state of vairaagyaa (non-attachment); you shall become free from worldly miseries and attain sat chit aanandaa.
Andal's birthday, known as ThiruAdipPooram is celebrated every year in the Tamil month of Aadi when the moon is in the constellation of the star Pooram (Pubba in kannada). She is the only woman who is among the twelve great Sri Vaishnava Saints of the Tamils, known as the Twelve Azhwars. The hymns of the Azhwars in Tamil enshrined in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham have been canonised in the Sri Vaishnava tradition on a par with the Vedas, the revealed scriptures.
Andal, is considered as the incarnation of Bhoodevi and revered as such in the religious tradition. Periazhwar (Vishnuchittar) found her under a sacred Tulasi (basil) shrub in his flower garden in Srivilliputtur (TamilNadu, South India) where he lived. He named the child Godha. The environment in which she grew up brought out her mystic temperament; soon she started identifying herself with the Gopis of Brindavan whenever she listened to the glory of the Lord in His incarnation as Krishna. Even when she was hardly five years old, her spiritual maturity reached great heights. Once, her father found her in the act of admiring her reflection wearing the garlands he had devotionally made for the Lord. He naturally felt disturbed by what he considered a sacrilege and did not offer the garlands to the Lord that day. But that night, in his dream, he was commanded by the Lord to offer the garlands worn by Godha. Overwhelmed by this incident, he started addressing her as Andal - one who had conquered the Lord.
Other Azhwars had also given expression to their agony over separation from the Lord, in the language unique to bridal mysticism. But Andal's outpourings score over them because the emotion came naturally to her from a very young age. When her father expressed his intention to get her married, she threatened that she would not live if betrothed to a mortal. Her devotion became so intense that she lost touch with worldly reality. This naturally caused much concern to her father though he was also a great devotee.
The Tiruppavai verses composed by her are chanted with Bhakti by devotees early in the morning in the month of Margazhi (Dec.-Jan) in Tamil Nadu. The verses are the expression of her keen desire to attain union with the Lord when she performed Pavai Nonbu, a vow on the lines of the Katyayini vratam performed by the Gopis in Brindavan. When the Lord did not relent, she poured forth her agony further in the hymn Nacchiar Tirumozhi. Finally, the Lord ordered her father to bring her bedecked in all honour to the temple where she merged into the image in the sanctum sanctorum.
Sri Andal's Tiruppavay:
You may download from Mr. Mani Varadarajan's site: http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/alvars/andal/tiruppavai/
To read text in Tamil language script, you may have to download
and install Mylaisri font from:
(Please also see chinna/GitaText/index.htm)
The essence of the Vedas has been distilled for us by Sri Andal in her Tiruppavai. Her Lord Sri Krishna's Bhagavad Gita is reverently referred to as the fifth Veda. It may not perhaps be widely known that Mahatma Gandhi has written a commentary on the Gita. Readers who are interested may find the full text of the commentary at the site http://hometown.aol.com/jajnsn/conte.html
Gandhiji would not allow for any exception to his principle of non-violence. He was a staunch believer in the dictum: Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah. He studied Bhagavad Gita almost daily and followed its principles in his daily life. But he could not agree that even a just war was necessary even though Lord Krishna advised Arjuna to fight the Kauravas in the discharge of his Dharmic duties as a Kshatriya warrior. This is what Gandhiji had to say on the subject:
"When the Gita was written, although people believed in ahimsa, wars were not only not taboo, but nobody observed the contradiction between them and ahimsa...................Let it be granted that according to the letter of the Gita it is possible to say that warfare is consistent with renunciation of fruit. But after forty years' unremitting endeavour fully to enforce the teaching of Gita in my own life, I have, in all humility, felt that perfect renunciation is impossible without perfect observance of ahimsa in every shape and form."
Only a very staunch practitioner of the principle of Ahimsa could, with great humility, interpret the Gita in this manner. (See also below Gita according to Gandhi).Gita according to Gandhi
See also http://hometown.aol.com/jajnsn/conte.html
Arjuna returned from Dwarka, sad and broken hearted.
First, he narrated to his brothers the strange fate that befell the Yadava clan in Dwarka:
"The Yadavas who are our own kith and kin were spiritual personages, full of devotion to God as you all know well. Perhaps, some day, some sage had cast a curse on them; or else some day some dire sin was committed by them... For, how else can we explain this sudden upset in their history, this unexpected tragedy?"
"They performed a magnificent sacrifice (Yajna) at Prabhasa-kshethra; for seven full days, the Yajna was celebrated in unprecedented pomp and style; the valedictory offering in the sacred fire was poured in true Vedic grandeur in the presence of Lord Krishna Himself; the participants and priests performed later the ceremonial bath in holy waters; the Brahmins then received their share of the Yajna offering and distributed it to the Yadavas also; everything went off in an atmosphere of perfect calm, contentment, and joy."
"Towards noon, Brahmins were served with food; afterwards, the Yadavas seated themselves in long lines to partake of the feast. During the feast, as ill-luck would have it, some of the Yadavas filled themselves with drink and lost self-control so much that they mistook their own kinsmen for foes. They started quarrels which raged into a fight of severe fierceness. It must have been in the plan of God, for however unruly and vile a man might be, he would not slaughter with his own hands his own children and his parents. O, the horror of it! In the general melee that ensued, son killed father, father killed son, brother slew brother, son-in-law killed father-in-law, father-in-law killed son-in-law, in one insane orgy of blind hate, until there was no one alive!"
Next, Arjuna communicated to his brothers the sad news that Krishna had left for his heavenly abode leaving a note for Arjuna that read: "Arjuna! This is my command; carry it out without demur, to the full. Execute this task with courage and earnestness."
After this express injunction, Krishna had elaborated on the task in the following words: "I have accomplished the mission on which I had come. I shall no longer be in this world, with body. I am departing. Seven days from today, Dwaraka will sink into the sea; the sea will swallow everything except the house I had occupied. Therefore, you have to take to Indraprastha city the queens and other women who survive, along with the children and babies and the old and decrepit. I am leaving, placing all responsibility for the women and other Yadava survivors in your hands. Care for them as you care for your own life; arrange for them at Indraprastha and protect them from danger."
The postscript said, "Thus writes Gopala on leaving for His home."
Hearing this news from Arjuna, the Pandavas grieved over their separation from Lord Krishna.
Bhima recalled the special affection that Krishna had for them. In the court of Dhritarashtra Duryodhana, Dussasana and others had once questioned Krishna as to why He should intercede in the family disputes of the Kauravas and Pandavas and favour one section more than another as if the Pandavas were nearer kin to Him than the Kauravas.
Pacing up and down like a lion cub, Bhima said, Krishna had roared and replied:
"What did you say? Are the Kauravas as near to Me as the Pandavas?
No, they can never be on the same level.
Listen, I shall tell you of the kinship that binds Me to the Pandavas:
For this body of Mine, Dharmaraja is as the head;
Arjuna is as the shoulder and arms; Bhima is as the trunk;
Nakula and Sahadeva are as the two feet. "
"For the body constituted like this, Krishna is the heart.
The limbs act on the strength of the heart; without it, they are lifeless."
Wise Nakula added:
"The body will not be dissolve immediately the breath leaves.
Of course, life has gone out of us the moment Krishna left, the limbs will be warm a little while.
We too have to reach the presence of Krishna today or tomorrow.
Let us not waste time in grief and anguish.
Let us rather think of the path we have to tread next and prepare for that journey."
Yudhishtira, the Dharmaraja, handed over the kingdom to Parikshit, grandson of Arjuna.
Accompanied by his brothers, he bade farewell to all and
left on the final journey towards the North.
The Pandavas took the vow of Mahaprasthanam and stuck to it.
That vow required that they should not eat or drink anything on the way,
that they should not rest, they must proceed straight on, in the northern direction,
until they dropped dead. This is the vow they observed, so severe and grim.
Revised: May 19, 2007